As the Pentagon tries to figure out how it's going to pay for the new war in Iraq and mission to combat Ebola in West Africa, the Afghan government says it's broke -- so broke it's asking the U.S. for an immediate $537 million bailout.
The Afghans are blaming their financial woes on the stalemated election results. Secretary of State John Kerry was there a month ago trying to arrange a unity government, but neither candidate is willing to step aside. Without a resolution, the Afghan government will be unable to prevent a full withdrawal of U.S. troops at the end of this year.
The special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction, John Sopko, told Fox News on Wednesday that there are already reports of Afghan police cutting power to Kandahar due to a lack of funding.
Sopko said he believes the U.S. has built a government in Afghanistan that it can’t sustain. “We have predicted for a while that we have spent too much money, too fast and built an infrastructure that the Afghans cannot afford,” Sopko said.
He also warned that without the bailout, the Afghan government will have a difficult time keeping terrorists out of Afghanistan.
The warning comes as the Taliban is increasing pressure around Kabul, where it killed two American troops outside the U.S. embassy in a suicide bombing Tuesday.
The Afghan government already relies heavily on foreign aid. More than 60 percent of its GDP comes from foreign donors, mostly the United States.
Without a bailout, the Afghan government says it won't be able to pay its employees. Its 350,000 security forces are paid for by the coalition, but they rely on the government for meals. If the soldiers don't eat, the central government could face serious problems.
The bailout request comes just a little less than four months after President Obama said, “The bottom line is, it's time to turn the page on more than a decade in which so much of our foreign policy was focused on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.”